You Need To Know Why
history, God's people have experienced many persecutions
and tribulations. God's children often experience severe trials and
tests! Why? Do you know why a loving Creator has decreed that all of
His children must go through their share of fiery trials? Read and
understand this. Trials are a vital part in developing spiritual
Christians fail to realize that trials and tribulations— unpleasant
though they may be at the time—are really blessings in disguise. You
need to understand why our loving Father has ordained that all His
children must experience a number of temptations and trials.
Almighty has deliberately designed the begettal and birth of a child in
this life to be a type—an exact picture—of the spiritual begettal and
birth which the child of God must experience before he can be born into
were born into this world under terrific pressure! In childbirth, both
mother and baby usually experience much stress and strain, as well as a
certain amount of physical pain.
This is an exact type of the spiritual birth.
Christ said to Nicodemus: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a
man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
are the very beginning steps toward salvation? 1) Repentance, 2)
baptism, and 3) the receiving of God's precious Holy Spirit (Acts
2:38). But—after our real conversion and baptism—we must continue to
"grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus
Christ" (II Pet. 3:18).
apostle Peter revealed how this growing must take place: "As newborn
babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby"
(I Pet. 2:2).
repentance, baptism and the receiving of God's Holy Spirit, we must
continue the vitally important process of spiritual growth in the womb
of the Church, so we can someday be born into God's family. We can only
continue to grow spiritually if we steadfastly keep drinking in our
daily supply of God's living waters—His Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39; Isa.
continue to receive our daily portion of God's Holy Spirit if we
continually feed on the Word of God. "It is written, That man shall not
live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4).
words of God Almighty as recorded in the Bible are life-giving and will
nourish us—if we regularly receive them into our very innermost being!
Christ said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are
life" (John 6:63).
we mix prayer and fasting with our daily study of God's Word, we
receive a rich supply of spiritual food which will nourish us to full
spiritual maturity. After safely completing a full term—usually much
longer than the nine months required for physical birth—of growth in
the womb of the Church, we will then finally be ready to be born into
God's spiritual family.
you now see how the spiritual birth, like a human birth, is usually
preceded by a most difficult period of stress and strain?
Stress and Strain Are Necessary
Christ, our High Priest, doesn't want us to be relaxed Christians! God
does not want us to go to sleep on the job (Matt. 25:5). "Wherefore he
saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ
shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14).
Jesus Christ will reject any who remain lukewarm (Rev. 3:15-16).
can only be born into the Kingdom of God under stress and strain—under
pressure! You need to understand why this is necessary, and also why
God permits us to be sorely tried at times!
David, a man after God's own heart, will have a very high position of
rulership in the Kingdom of God. He will be king over all Israel (Ezek.
37:24; Hosea 3:5; Jer. 30:9). In order to qualify for this high
position of responsibility and service in God's Kingdom, David first
had to suffer many trials, persecutions and afflictions. His life was,
in fact, full of tribulations.
understood that God's people must experience many trials and tests in
this life: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord
delivereth him out of them all" (Ps. 34:19).
made some very serious mistakes in his life and had to be afflicted by
God to learn his lesson— the lesson that sin never pays!
a moment of weakness, David yielded to the terrible sin of lust. He
gave in to his carnal urge and committed adultery with Bathsheba. Then,
when she had conceived an illegitimate child by him, he sought to cover
his sin by devious means. When this failed, he connived to bring about
the death of Bathsheba's husband Uriah. He had him put in the hottest
part of the battle where he would be certain to be killed by the
Ammonites (II Sam. 11).
is God a respecter of persons? Would He turn a blind eye to David's
sin? "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7).
sent Nathan to point out David's terrible sin to him (II Sam. 12).
David bitterly repented of this grievous sin (II Sam. 12; Ps. 51).
Nevertheless, God Almighty showed that he must reap what he had sown.
would his punishment be? He would have perpetual war from that day
forward! God also afflicted David through sickness, and through taking
the life of the very child which he had begotten in adultery! This was
a very high price to pay for sin—but this was God's way of bringing
David to his senses!
David know why God had afflicted him? Certainly! "Before I was
afflicted I went astray [I sinned]: but now have I kept thy word" (Ps.
119:67). He then freely confessed that God was righteous in punishing
him: "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn
thy statutes" (Ps. 119:71).
zealous apostle Paul also understood the absolute necessity of God's
people going through tribulation in this world in order to purify them.
He exhorted the disciples "to continue in the faith, and that we must
through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
solemnly warned the evangelist Timothy: "Yea, and all that will live
godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12).
will certainly have a very high position in the Kingdom of God. The
many trials which he endured fully qualified him to receive a position
of great responsibility.
Have you ever carefully noticed just how much this dynamic apostle suffered and endured for Christ's sake?
they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours
more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in
deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered
shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings
often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own
countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils
in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false
brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger
and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those
things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of
all the churches" (II Cor. 11:23-28).
addition to these trials, Paul revealed that he had certain physical
infirmities which Jesus Christ had refused to heal—in order to keep
Paul humble—so he would look to Christ and glory in God, rather than in
what he had done (II Cor. 12:1-9). Paul concluded: "Therefore 1 take
pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in
persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when 1 am weak, then
am I strong" (II Cor. 12:10).
The Fiery Trial
the apostle Peter believe the lot of a Christian would be an easy one?
No! He revealed that the faith of the Christian must sometimes be
sorely tried: "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if
need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the
trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that
perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and
honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 1:6-7).
same apostle was also inspired to give the following warning: "Beloved,
think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as
though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as
ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be
revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (I Pet. 4:12-13).
exemplary life—especially during the three and one half years of His
earthly ministry—was not a life of idleness and ease but a life filled
with constant trials of every sort! He was continually opposed,
persecuted, slandered, criticized, and was finally crucified by the
very people whom He loved—loved so much that He was willing to die for
Christ knew what real tribulation was. "In the world ye shall have
tribulation," said Jesus, "but be of good cheer; I have overcome the
world" (John 16:33).
Bible prophecies reveal that the peoples of America, Britain and the
British Commonwealth (modern Israel) have become terribly enmeshed in
loathsome sins (Hosea 4:1-3; Jer. 30:11-15). God also shows that He
will correct and chastise Israel because of her sins. "And though the
Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet
shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine
eyes shall see thy teachers" (Isa. 30:20).
Why will God so severely afflict Israel? Because He loves Israel and wants our people to turn from their mounting sins!
are various ways in which God tries us. God tried and tested Abraham by
commanding him to offer up his son Isaac. Abraham had to be willing to
give up his only true, legitimate son in order to obey his Creator and
receive God's incredible promises. Actually, God didn't want Abraham to
slay his son. He only wanted to test Abraham to see if he loved Him,
his Creator, more than anything else (Gen. 22).
How does God try and test us? How does He learn what is really in our heart?
have already seen that God sometimes afflicts us in order to humble us
or teach us an important lesson (Ps. 119:71; II Cor. 12:7-10).
God Chastens Us in Love
God Almighty has to chasten all of His sons and daughters—just as we
have to correct our children: "And ye have forgotten the exhortation
which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the
chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For
whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he
receiveth" (Heb. 12:5-6).
The apostle Paul then goes on to show that if we "endure chastening," God will deal with us as with sons.
if we will not receive this loving correction, then what does God call
us? He bluntly calls us spiritual "bastards"! We are not really God's
sons at all but are merely pretending to be His sons.
Does godly chastisement cause us to bear good fruit?
why God chastens us. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be
joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable
fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (verse
has ordained that this life will not be an easy life—for a very good
reason. He knows that if we have no severe trials and tests we become
spiritually soft and flabby!
comfortable man is a complacent man. A comfortable man doesn't want to
change—doesn't want to alter the status quo! Why should he? He is quite
happy to let things continue as they are. Why change when everything
seems to be going along so very smoothly?
God Almighty knows that we need trials to stir us to action—to stir us up enough to overcome our spiritual lethargy!
promises a special blessing on those who steadfastly resist and
overcome temptations: "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for
when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord
hath promised to them that love him" (James 1:12).
How We Are Tried
are some of the main ways in which we are afflicted? Ways by which we
are caused to go to our knees to God in heartrending prayer? What are
some of the trials which cause us to really cry out to God (as unto a
merciful and loving Father) for help and strength to overcome our
trials and tribulations?
Persecution is one of the main ways by which God's people are drawn closer to Him.
necessities often cause God's people to have to go to Him in prayer.
When we don't have the necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter),
we are often brought to our knees before our heavenly Father.
physical infirmities and sickness are often the means by which God
brings us back into line. When we are told that we may remain an
invalid for the rest of our life, or when we know that we may actually
die of an incurable disease (unless God miraculously heals us!), then
this sobers us, brings us to our senses. Such a shock often causes us
to get down on our knees in heartfelt prayer, beseeching our
compassionate God for mercy—for health and healing (II Kings 20:1-7).
temptations are often the means by which we are brought to the
realization of how weak and wretched our human nature is. Through
strong and persistent temptations (fears, worries and anxieties; lust
and covetousness; hatred and malice; envy and jealousies), we are often
sent to the throne of grace for additional strength to overcome our
wretched nature (Rom. 7:14-25).
has solemnly promised to deliver us from all of our temptations— if we
will only rely upon Him. "There hath no temptation taken you but such
as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make
a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Cor. 10:13).
we really repent of our sins and turn from them, accepting the blood of
Christ as the means by which our transgressions are washed away, then
we are assured by God that sin will no longer rule over us— will no
longer dominate our lives.
promises: "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not
under the [death penalty of the] law, but under grace [pardon]" (Rom.
6:14). Once we are forgiven our sins, God has solemnly promised that
sin will no longer reign over us —will not control our lives!
true Christian must continually suffer hardships and temptations of
every sort. But God will not let them overcome or defeat us as long as
we steadfastly look to Him for complete deliverance: "For he hath said,
I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say,
The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me"
it God's will that His children be kept under a certain amount of
pressure? He knows that we need to have continual trials, tribulations
and persecutions in order to toughen us up spiritually—in order to show
us how weak and helpless we are so that we will always look to Him and
rely on Him for everything!
Pressure Is Essential
There are several analogies in the Bible—analogies which clearly show us why God permits us to have trials and tribulations.
Christian is compared to precious metals—gold or silver—which have to
be put into a fiery furnace in order to burn away the dross and
impurities. Also, gold and silver must become molten before they can be
poured into a mold. This is true with the Christian. We must at least
be heated to red-hot in order to be malleable enough to be easily bent
and shaped by the hands of our faithful Creator (see I Pet. 1:7; 4:12;
I Cor. 3:12-15).
Bible compares the saints to precious jewels or precious stones (Mal.
3:17). Again, it is interesting to note that diamonds, rubies and other
precious jewels can only be made under terrific heat and pressure!
it is with us. We must be subjected to the tremendous heat of our fiery
trials and to the constant pressure of temptation, persecution and
tribulation in order to become a precious jewel in the sight of God!
even compares His people to common clay in the hands of the Master
Potter: "But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and
thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand" (Isa. 64:8).
in Egypt I was privileged to see a potter at work. The potter must
first make sure the right amount of water is mixed with the clay so it
will be pliable. God reveals that the Holy Spirit is the living water
(John 7:37, 38) which will enable our adamant minds and hearts to
voluntarily yield to God so He can mold and fashion us into the
spiritual shape, image or character of His Son Jesus Christ.
using a very simple potter's wheel an experienced potter is able to
quickly and expertly make beautiful pieces of pottery—cups, plates,
bowls, vases, waterpots and jars of every description.
after the potter molds the clay into the desired shape, he must then
bake the pottery in a fiery furnace. It is in the fiery furnace that
the clay takes the permanent shape into which the potter has molded it.
So it is with the Christian. Is it not in the furnace of affliction
that God Almighty sets (or fixes) us in the particular shape (or
character) He would have us take for all eternity?
Word of God compares the true Christian to a spiritual soldier for
Christ: "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus
Christ" (II Tim. 2:3).
a raw recruit can really become a good soldier, he must first take an
intensive course which will toughen him up for the battles ahead.
best soldiers have always been those who have been toughened and
hardened by being subjected to hard work, exercise and discipline. So
it is with the Christian. He must submit himself willingly to his
Captain, Jesus Christ, and must voluntarily endure
hardness—persecution, deprivation, tribulation and severe temptation—if
he ever expects to become a good soldier for Jesus Christ.
must not he put on all of the spiritual armor mentioned in the sixth
chapter of Ephesians—the breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith,
helmet of salvation, sword of the Word of God, and all the other pieces
that make up the complete spiritual armor of a Christian?
We are commanded: "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11).
Almighty knows that we tend to get flabby, spiritually speaking, when
things go too smoothly. We tend to let down in our prayer, Bible study
and fasting when we have very few trials, problems or persecutions.
would like to see us prosper and be in health (III John 2), but He will
even deny us these blessings if He knows that we need to suffer
deprivation, affliction or persecution in order to cause us to really
look to Him as our Provider and our Deliverer from all our trials.
Christ will reject anyone who remains in a lukewarm condition (Rev.
3:15-16). He doesn't want to see us become spiritually drowsy—
insensitive to our Creator's wishes. God doesn't want us to be
Spiritual Exercise Is Vital
Almighty knows that it is only through the spiritual
exercise of problems, trials, tests, persecutions, temptations and
tribulations that we develop real spiritual sinews and strength. If one
doesn't actually tire himself with a certain amount of strenuous daily
exercise, he can't develop his body to its optimum and remain in the
best physical health.
it is spiritually. If we don't daily exercise our spiritual faculties
by overcoming and solving our spiritual problems, trials and hardships,
then we will not remain in very good spiritual shape. We will then
become spiritually weak and flabby. God doesn't want that to happen!
we like it or not, this is the type of life our loving Father has
ordained that we must lead. It is only those who constantly overcome
who will make it into the Kingdom of God (Rev. 2, 3). Only those who
exert themselves enough to hang on for dear life—to endure unto the
very end—will be saved. "But he that shall endure unto the end, the
same shall be saved" (Matt. 24:13).
came into this world under terrific stress and strain—under pressure
and anguish—and we will not be born into the Kingdom of God unless and
until we have proven that we can withstand the pressures and strains of
the everyday trials, tribulations, persecutions and temptations of this
"If Any Man Draw Back"
But, regrettably, some prefer to give up and quit—to turn back! What does God think of these quitters?
we willfully, deliberately sin against God, we will never receive
forgiveness (Heb. 10:25-31). "Now the just shall live by faith: but if
any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Heb. 10:38).
some are not willing to really fight, to endure, to labor, struggle and
strive in order to make it into the Kingdom of God. Christ showed that
we must really strain if we wish to make it into His Kingdom. "Strive
[struggle and strain] to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say
unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24).
Christ revealed that it is only those who are so fervent in their
desire to make it into God's Kingdom that they are willing to be
"violent" with themselves who actually make it (Matt. 11:12).
Trouble Is Certain, But. . .
truth of the matter is that we are going to have trials and
tribulations whether we obey God or not. Job declared: "Man is born
unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). Yes, we will have
troubles whether or not we obey God. But if we obey Him, He will give
us the needed wisdom and strength to overcome all our trials and
temptations (I Cor. 10:13).
trials and persecutions are certain to befall all who live an upright,
godly life. But these tribulations are all designed by a loving Creator
to teach us to go to Him daily—completely trusting in Him for our every
need, including deliverance from all our sore trials.
God declares: "If thou faint in the day of adversity [hardship], thy strength is small" (Prov. 24:10).
all-wise, loving Creator God has deliberately designed life in such a
way as to include many trials and afflictions. The Almighty even goes
out of His way to rebuke and chasten us—in love—to keep us on the
straight and narrow path.
this, should we not earnestly desire God's correction? You need to
learn to desire—and even pray daily for—chastisement from the hand of
"Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty" (Job 5:17).
ever forget that God corrects us for our good—because He loves us and
longs to share with us the eternal inheritance of co-ownership and
co-rulership of the whole universe.
you now clearly see how trials, temptations, pressures and hardships
have been put here as a blessing in disguise? These tribulations assist
us in building the kind of perfect, godly character that we need to
possess throughout all eternity.
Thank God for the blessing of these trials! It is through them that we develop godly character!
by Raymond F. McNair The PLAIN TRUTH June-July 1979